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Transcript of Chinese Cinderella
Presented by: Michaela Kroll, Adelise O'Kelley, Tashawn Mcpherson, and Anesity Escobedo
"Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Ye Xian who lived during the Tang dynasty in China. Her father had two wives and two daughters, one by each wife. Ye Xian's mother died, followed by her father. Her stepmother mistreated her, showing preference for her own daughter... Through her own talent and effort, Ye Xian had bought the shoes that led eventually led to her marriage with the warlord. They lived happily ever after.. Your future is limitless, and I shall always be proud of you, my Chinese Cinderella" (page 195-197).
A possible theme statement could be,"Transcend from your abuse and transform it into a source of courage, creativity and compassion"(page xii).
Adeline receives a letter from her caretaker and old best friend, her Aunt Baba, telling her the story of Ye Xian, the original Chinese Cinderella and telling her that she will be alright in the end, just like that girl was.
Information About The Author
Symbolism In Chinese Cinderella
Point of View
Thoughts on the book
Adeline was able to create amazing stories even though people would beat her down, sometimes literally.
Adeline Yen Mah was born August 6, 1937 in Tianjin, China. She has three older brothers and one older sister. One year after her mother's death, her father remarried and has two more children, one girl and one boy.Shunned as the unwanted daughter by almost everyone, she grows up feeling unwanted and unloved. Eventually, she rose above this and lives a very successful life as a writer and doctor.
Author's Information Continued
Although her childhood was surrounded with deceit and abuse she had her Aunt Baba to help her through it all. Later, she went to Oxford in England. Her father made her study medicine other than what she wanted which was literature. After twenty six years of being a physician in America she finally wrote her first novel.
Adeline was born in 1937, a week after that her mother died. A year later Adeline’s father, Joseph Yen, remarried to a lady named Jeanne. In December of 1939, they had a son and a daughter together by the names of Susan and Franklin. Aunt Baba, a woman who was related to Joseph and lived with the Yen family, was assigned to take care of Adeline. Adeline’s grandparents, Nai Nai and Ye Ye, also lived with them.
Wu Chun Mei (Adeline's childhood friend) invited Adeline to go to her birthday party. Adeline lied and told her parents that she had school when it was really a holiday so that she could go to the birthday party. She came home earlier than usual and Niang became suspicious, Niang soon found out that Adeline lied about going to the party, then as punishment, her dad whipped her.
When Adeline got elected class president her friends came to her house to congratulate her. Niang gets upset about this and slaps Adeline three times and demands her friends to leave.
As a result of getting into trouble with her parents, Adeline’s parents send her to a boarding school in Tianjin called Saint Joseph’s. There, she does not make many friends and is kept away from her whole entire family. Letters are instructed to be kept away from her and she does not hear from anyone until her Ye Ye dies and she is taken home. Then she is sent back to the boarding school where she submits her creative play into a competition.
Adeline wins a play writing competition which gets her in the local newspaper for her father to notice. Since he was very proud of her for winning, he allows her to go to college in England with her brothers on the requirement that she majors in medicine and not literature which is her heart's desire.
The author first sets the tone by saying "But then Mama died giving birth to you. If you had not been born, Mama would still be alive. She died because of you. You are bad luck"(page 3).
This is what the reader first hears out of her siblings, this helps sets up a feeling of worthlessness. This begins the continuation of insults throughout her childhood.
The author uses some symbolism in the text, "I was winning the medal every week and wearing it constantly. I knew this displeased my siblings, especially Big Sister and Second Brother, but it was the only way to make Father take notice and be proud of me"(page 15).
The medal symbolizes her longing to be loved. When she wears it her Father notices and compliments her on her achievement. She wants to be loved so much that she does not care what her siblings think, she knows that she has to do this to win his favor.
I liked reading Chinese Cinderella. It was interesting to see how life was like in the 1940's and just how cruel people can be. The book was very well written and gives us a good look into Adeline's life through the first person point of view. Adeline uses her words to tell and show her feelings,"I was overwhelmed by his chivalry but could not find words sufficient to express my gratitude"(page 156). This tells the reader how she feels, the author and narrator use a very good vocabulary to express her feelings.
The author's word choice is very grown up for the story. During the story, Adeline is a very bright young girl, with a very bright future. The author uses such words as "melee" and "wrenched" to describe things. In the same instance though, Adeline is a very smart character and a young, bright girl who more than likely did use these words.
Over the time of the story, young Adeline and her family travel to many places. Overall, the story takes place in China.
The main place that the story happens in is "the French concession of Tianjin, a port city on the northeast coast of China"(page 5).
I thought "Chinese Cinderella" was an amazing, thoughtful, well said book. It opened my eye about how parents could be so cruel and that I should not take anything for granted. it taught me to work hard and good things will come to me. I've connected to the book in many ways. I connected with Adeline, "I read because I have to. It drives everything else from my mind. It lets me escape to find other worlds"(page I love to read because it lets me escape from my reality and it clears my mind from all the problems I have.
In my opinion "Chinese Cinderella" is not a story meant for children. The words and the subjects talked about it in the story are very graphic, very intense and at some points, very emotional. The story for me brought back feelings of longing that I haven't had in a while. I longed to have a grandfather who was like YeYe, who cared about me and my well being, again; he told Adeline, "Everything is possible!... you are precious and special. Being top of your class merely confirms this"(pg 181). I longed to have an education like Adeline received. I connected with her when she felt unloved, hopeless, and useless. The story was well written and gave me a real opportunity to connect with someone else, without having to meet them. Adeline Yen Mah aroused feelings out of me that I haven't faced in a long time. It made me appreciate what i have even more than I did before I read her story.
The diction works with the text because Adeline was an above average student when she was younger. She was able to move up in her grade levels due to her sheer amount of intelligence so it just makes sense that the words used to describe her life growing up are a little bit more grown up.
Social: Adeline is the shunned daughter of Joseph Yen, in society she is barely even recognized as a Yen. As said in chapter five, "You are to enter and leave the house by the back door only" (pg 24).
Familial: Adeline is the Fifth Younger Sister of her family, the last of the Yen family's original mother. She is shunned by pretty much all of her family. Her family often forgot her and neglected her, "Eventually, I was the only one left. Nobody had come for me"(pg 27).
Occupational: Until the end of the book, Adeline does not have a job. At the end of the book, she is told she is going to be a doctor by her father, "After you graduate, you will specialize in obstetrics"(pg 193).
Adeline's relationships include sister, daughter, niece, granddaughter, step daughter and friend. Her father disregards her, barely paying attention to her. Niang(her step mother) treats her like she is scum. Her siblings all get along with her fairly well, teasing her and bullying her at times. Aunt Baba loves her like she would her daughter as do Ye ye and Nai Nai. As said early on about her relationship with her older siblings, "They blamed me for causing Mama's death and never forgave me"(pg4).
to make her father, Aunt Baba, and Ye Ye proud of her and go to college, "As long as he let's me go to college in England,.."(page 193).
to become a famous writer, "I plan to study literature. I'll be a writer" (page 193).
Self Image: In short, Adeline hates herself. When playing a game with her friends, she admits to them "Everything is ugly. I loathe myself" (page 188).
The author, grown Adeline Yen Mah, makes us feel pity for the younger Adeline Yen Mah. We can all feel bad for her when her family mistreats her or makes fun of her. We all can see her struggle to even do something remotely acceptable in her family's eyes. One way she does this is by showing how little her family cares for her, "I'm afraid I've forgotten your Chinese name. Is it Jun-quing"(page 124). When you read this book, Adeline makes you feel pity for her younger self.
Adeline Yen Mah tells the story from a first person point of view. She uses words such as 'I', 'me', and 'my' in every sentence where she describes what Adeline is doing or feeling. She is Adeline, "I waited in line when mail was distributed"(page 189).
I think the book "Chinese Cinderella" is a very well written book, but I didn't like it because it wasn't that serious.